Kilt Care and Maintenance

Your kilt is 100% wool tartan, and should last for many years with proper care. Here are a few suggestions for keeping it new-looking.

Always hang the kilt on one (very strong) skirt hanger or two (not so strong) skirt hangers. The kilt may be folded in fourths inside out, or in thirds inside out. Place in a well-ventilated closet. Do not put it away damp.

If the kilt becomes wet (it has been known to rain at Scottish games from time to time) lay it flat in the back of your car on the way home, and then lay it out flat or put it over a wooden clothes dryer at home until it is completely dry. This applies to dancers also. Perspiration should be allowed to dry, and the kilt aired out before storing.

You may press the kilt if necessary using an iron set to “wool” and a pressing cloth. NEVER IRON DIRECTLY ON THE TARTAN. This may cause a shiny spot or an iron mark. Steam from the iron is fine-just let it dry completely before you put it away. When pressing the pleats, take care to press on the same line that has already been pressed in.

The best way to clean a kilt is to keep it clean in the first place. Avoid sending it to the cleaners, because most cleaners have little idea how to handle the pleats when pressing, and may make a real mess out of your kilt. Spills will occur, but most can be wiped up with just water. Soft drinks, or anything containing sugar, should be rinsed with clear water and blotted dry. If something else IS accidentally spilled on your kilt, this is what I do:

For food spills:

Clean as soon as possible with a damp cloth or paper towel with a TINY amount of dish soap. Place a kitchen towel on a hard surface, put the kilt (where the spot is) over the towel, and press the damp towel with the soap over it. Do not rub. you can squeeze moisture and soap through the tartan and then check to see if the stain is coming out. Repeat until the stain is gone, rinse using clear water, and then allow the tartan to dry. After that you can press it. Stubborn stains may be helped with a stain removal product such as K2R, but this is a last resort. The important thing is to treat the stain ASAP.

Young dancers should wear a smock or apron if they plan to eat after they are dressed. Avoid colored juice drinks, mustard, and ketchup.

Beer or other alcohol spills should be rinsed immediately with water and blotted dry.

Caring for the pleats is something that people frequently ask about. There are several things that can be done to preserve them:

When sitting, smooth the back of your kilt as you sit down (women learn how to do this at an early age; men may require practice)

Make sure that the kilt is dry before you store it.

Don’t leave it in a heap in the bottom of a garment bag.

The kilt may need a good press every few years, but this should be done by a trained kiltmaker. The kilt may need to have the pleats basted together (as they are during construction) and repressed to make the kilt look like new.

Remove kilt pins and competition numbers before storing your kilt. These can rust (the safety pins are the worst offenders, but other kilt jewelry may also rust) and ruin the apron of your kilt.

With good care, your kilt should last for many years. If you have further questions, please feel free to email or comment,and I will try to answer your questions.

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